Zhen Chen – Bingwen Du – Prachi Gadkari

Spring 2013:


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This design proposal references a highly influential urban futurism precedent from the mid-twentieth century, Kenzo Tange’s Clusters in the Air (1962).  Similar to Tange’s project, Cavern City provides a large-scale superstructure for the gradual accumulation and distribution of smaller-scale programmatic elements over time.  Whereas Tange’s project was premised on the machine, however, and with it the organizational logics of regularity, Cavern City takes its cue from geology and by extension qualities of differentiation.

Located in the Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, an archipelago of remote islands which support a fragile ecology of marine wildlife, Cavern City proposes the gradual construction of large-scale geoform towers, which in addition to providing a superstructure for various forms of human and wildlife inhabitation, also work to absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide over long durations of time.  If the industrial age and with it the fossil fuels industry initiated and accelerated the release of carbon dioxide from the earth and with it the larger effects of global warming, Cavern City proposes a new kind of geoform city, one which attempts to provide a counterweight to the effects of global warming by recapturing and restoring CO2 into the architecture itself.

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Evan Douglis, Professor


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
School of Architecture
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Troy, NY 12180 - USA

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